Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Book Club Selection: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- I love to read and a recent author that has struck a chord with me is Rainbow Rowell.  Rowell is the author of a few hit novels including, Elenore and Park, as well as FanGirl (both I have read and LOVED). 

Last month for our book club we read, "The Storied Life of A.J. Fikery."  I was a little worried when I started the book, it seemed slow and wordy.  It didn't seem like a book I was going to dive into.  I was wrong, way wrong!

I fell in love with the characters, A.J. Fikery became someone I wish I knew in real life.  The story wonderful.  ANYWAY, for March I wanted to pick something by an author I knew I liked, I wanted the chance to share something I love, with everyone else.

So we picked the book "Attachments" By Rainbow Rowell.  I already finished it!  It's not even March yet.  I couldn't put it down.

Attachments is the story of a young guy living in the late 90's when Y2k was everyone's biggest fear.  Because of the Y2k craze he was hired by his company to be the dude who has to read everyone's emails before they open them. 

The story goes back and forth from this guys life, to a series of emails being sent from one of the girls in his office.  While the idea sounds like crazy stalker weird dude, it is not.  I assure you.  If you pick up the book (You get a discount at Schuelers for being part of the book club!) Give it a read! 

We will plan something later in March to meet up, have some coffee, and talk all about it!

For the clip from February's book club click HERE.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Training Update: A light at the end of the tunnel

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- I've whined and whined and whined about injuries I have gotten that were basically all my own fault.  To be honest the injuries could have been much worse so I should be thanking God, not complaining.

Last year you may remember I had a few months there that I raced like an insane person.  I over trained then in April/May ran the following.

  1. Wounded Warrior 5k- This was only a 5k so I didn't think of it as a race but I ran pretty hard clocking, 19:51 and then proceeded to do my 15 mile long run the next day
  2. Gazelle Girl Half Marathon- I forgot to meniton, the 15 mile long run was actually the Gazelle Girl Marathon the next day, I got 10th place and ran 1:33:30 averaging about 7 flat pace for 13 miles plus cool down... Still no days off at this point.
  3. Striders 10 Miler- I love this race and it was the following weekend so I didn't feel I had a choice I HAD to run it right?  Once again I get competitive and race and have a great race, 1:09:12, under 7 minutes a mile and it was a hilly course... still no break.
  4. Rock n Roll Nashville Half Marathon- One week has gone by since striders 10 miler so I thought I was okay and ran this half marathon.  This now is 1 week til my full marathon I have been training for religiously.  I told myself I wouldnt race and I would go easy.  I still clocked 1:37:00 averaging 7:25 pace.... 
  5. Kalamazoo Marathon- It's been one week since rock n roll, I DID rest through out the week but only like 3 days of rest, plus it was my birthday that week AND I moved because we had bought our first house!  SO yeah I probably was a little fatigued even though I didn't realize it.  I ran the hilly course Kalamazoo boasts in 03:23:11- a HUGE personal record for me, and got me into Boston, qualifying by over 15 minutes.  I should have stopped there
  6. 5/3 River Bank Run- Everyone told me to take a few weeks off completely but I 5/3 River Bank Run was the following weekend and that's a Grand Rapids staple so I felt like I HAD to do it.  I chose to do the 10k... thinking, well that will be easier than the full 15 miles right?! WRONG.  I raced it, 6:45ish pace feeling awful the whole time.  The next day I did an "easy" trail run at cannonsburg and almost passed out.  
Not long after all of this my knee started bugging me... from there the knee got worse and worse, followed by my achilles tendon.  MONTHS of pain on both these things from different forms of tendonitis.  Basically this was all my fault

Here's where the news gets  good, I finally got a 4 mile run in, no stopping and NO pain... I am so excited.  This whole process has changed how I feel about running and my body and I will never let what happened last year happen to me again.  REST is key and I will live by that motto.

whipped! This was right after my successful 4-miler, which normally would be no big deal, but after so much injury 4 miles with no pain felt amazing.

Now I just need to train for Boston.... I still have 9 weeks!  Let's do this. Is anyone else training for Boston and as excited as me!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Pump up the jams- my go to playlist for everything

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- We all have that one song that makes us happy, or pumps us up for whatever we need "pumping up" for.  I have many and over the years I have added songs to my pump up play list.

I got my first Ipod, the Ipod mini when I was 20 years old and a sophomore at Ferris State University.  Back then the coolest phone you could own was a Motorola Razer, which I had- and they did not play music.  So I had my Ipod mini which looking back was just awful.  The screen wasn't in color, but it could hold a lot of music.

Much like the Iphone now and many of you remember, you plug the thing into your computer, and sync it with itunes where you can order all your fave tunes and plop 'em into your Ipod.

The headphones are in, that means I was jammin... getting ready for I believe GLIAC indoor conference 2006

I had a collection of the greatest classic rocks songs ever... mixed in with songs that weren't so classic and looking back I laugh that I listen to them so much.  Anyway I have always felt like a persons taste in music says a lot about them.  So here is my playlist, I have added to it, but its basically stayed the same since I made it back in 2005.

"Jack-Attacks Fast Running Jams" (great title too....)
  1. Kansas- Carry On Wayward Son
  2. Styx- Come Sail Away
  3. White Snake- Here I Go Again
  4. The Darkness- I Believe In A Thing Called Love
  5. Twisted Sister- We're Not Gonna Take It
  6. Quiet Riot- Cum On Feel The Noise
  7. Outkast- Hey Yeah
  8. Styx- Renegade
  9. R Kelly- Remix To Ignition
  10. Fall Out Boy- Sugar We're Going Down
  11. Fergie- Big Girls Don't Cry
  12. Foreigner- Juke Box Hero
  13. Lynyrd Skynyrd- Free Bird
  14. Simple Plan- I'd Do Anything
  15. Bowling For Soup- Emily
  16. Bowling For Soup- Girl All The Bad Guys Want
  17. Katy Perry- Hot n Cold 
  18. Girl Talk- Play Your Part
There you have it.... how magnificent is that... I think the best part is that I still listen to that mix.... it is so random!  My classic rock love mixed with my "pop/punk" fusion love haha.  What's on your playlist?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Baby fever!

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- I've got the fever, baby fever.  I knew I would catch it because it's definitely a contagious virus that goes around and infects everyone in it's path.

It starts with one couple, they get the fever and have a baby, next thing you know every friend in their circle starts thinking, "man, that baby is damn cute, maybe I want a baby...." and before you know it you have it, baby fever.

Jimmy and I knew we wanted kids but we weren't exactly HOW we would be having them.  By them I mean it/he/she because we are only having one.... anyway, I was born with a rare syndrome, I do not have ovaries or a uterus.  That makes it pretty tough to have a baby, actually it makes it impossible.

Jimmy and me on our 1 year wedding anniversary November 23, 2014

The fever got high enough that we went to a fertility clinic and learned about a few options.  My sister (the one who is a bad ass photographer who took these photos HERE.) offered to carry a baby for us.  WOA.... Now if that's not love I don't know what is.  Dani is going to have a donor egg, and my husbands sperm placed in her uterus where she then carries the baby.  Then it's born and it's mine!

My sister Dani, Me and Jimmy at Dani's wedding in 2012

The process is long, we are on a wait list for the donor egg and that list is 4-6 months.  We are on month 2 so we still have a few months to go.  After that we get candidates sent to us and pick the one we want, we get all their medical information, their educational background, their height, weight, eye color, hair color, pictures, you name it we get it.

After we pick out bio mom we get to start the process, the real fun part.  In a dream world it will take the first try and we will be rolling with a baby.  In a not perfect world it will take a few tries but eventually will take and we will still be rolling with a baby.

So 2016 will be the year of Baby Blankenship.  How exciting is this?!  I am stoked!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A day in the life: Here's what a day's like for me!

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- I find myself inspired daily by my friends and their is one who continually inspires me.  Tina is an elite runner, as well as my collegiate team mate, and most of all my friend.

Tina hates this photo but I like it, mainly because the memories of our many long bus trips.

Tina's blog, "Fuel Your Future" is a great place to check out posts on everything from elite running, dieting, clean eating, cooking recipes and more.  I find myself reading her posts and before I know it an hour has flown by and I realize I quickly need to scramble around to do something productive.

Tina inspired me the other day with a post, "A day in the life of an elite runner."  It's fascinating to me reading about what other people in different career fields do.  Most of all the post taught me her schedule, what she eats, when she crams in her work out, and how her job (which is different from most jobs) plays out.

That said, I get asked a million times a day, "when do you go to bed?!"  "What do you do all day when you get out of work?!"  "Do you nap?" That last one is my favorite question because it is the most common one.  Being a morning show reporter our schedules are a little funky, and a LOT different than most people.  So why not use my inspriation from my friend Tina and do a blog post about what my day is like!

Monday, February 16th

2:50AM- Alarm goes off.  It's so early and I didn't sleep very well last night.  Mainly because I read my book (I'm currently into, "The Storied Life of A.J. Fikery.") until 9PM, WAY too late for a Sunday night.  So I hit snooze and sleep a few more beautiful minutes.

3:15AM- Alright I waited long enough I HAVE to get up.  I try to be stealth as I can and sneak out of bed with out waking Jimmy.  It's pretty easy because he sleeps like a ROCK.  We have a bathroom inside our bedroom so I head into the bathroom and turn on the shower.  While the shower warms up I walk into my disaster of a closet.  Clothes are strewn everywhere and I have no idea where to start in finding something to wear.  I remember that I am going live from CrossFit 616 and that I'll be working out, making my decisions a little easier I choose my favorite, "Groot" (Guardians of the Galaxy) shirt, and a pair of running capris.
3:30AM- Time is not on my side at this point as I race downstairs and pour a cup of coffee.  I grab my keys and am off to work.  On the way to work I have a playlist I play religiously that wakes me up and gets me ready to face the day.  They are all old, rock songs, because that's my jam ;)
3:50- I arrive at work and drop my stuff by my desk and everyone looks up, groggy, and tired giving me nods of the head, and meager waves hello.  I fire up my computer and check my emails from the previous night.
4:15AM- We have a morning news meeting.  Everyone gathers around our executive producers computer to pitch stories, find out where we are going out to, learn about weather for the day etc.
4:30AM- We are on to my favorite part of my morning.  I head into the dressing room and do my hair and makeup for the show.  Our anchor Deanna and breaking news reporter Nicole also stumble in and we talk about anything and everything as we get ready.  We normally have at least one thing that makes us laugh out loud.
5:30AM- It's time to leave.  My photographer James, and I hop into a live show truck and head out to Crossfit 616.  It's right in Grand Rapids so it's not a very long drive.  Some stories require us to leave much earlier and drive upwards of 60 minutes.  We go inside and I meet the owner, prep him for our live interviews, and try to find unqiue angles for our television segments. (One of the videos posted below)

9:00AM- My stomach is rumbling because as usual I haven't ate yet and forgot to pack something to eat.  Running on black coffee and a mug of hot tea, James and I make a stop on the way home and I order egg white, and cheese on an english muffin. (No meat today because I TRY to stay good with "meatless Mondays.") After breakfast we head into the station to write up a story to play during our midday news at 11AM, and our 4PM news.
11:30AM- I finish up my last bit of work and head out.  It is a super cold day so I don't really feel like running outside, especially after all the injuries I have had these last few months.  Instead I go to the gym and do a 30 minute bike work out, followed by 4 miles on the treadmill at a quick 7:20 pace.
12:30PM- I stop by Meijer on my way home and by groceries, like I mentioned earlier it is Monday and I had decided to try something other than meat and participate in "Meatless Monday"  I settle on a sweet potato chili.  I get all the ingredients I need plus a few I don't, and finally head home.
1:00PM-3:00PM- After putting all my ingredients for the chili into the crock pot I settle on the couch to watch one of my shows.  (I'm obsessed with "Chuck" and usually settle on that) Today I am extra tired though and unintentionally doze off.
3:30PM- I scold myself for falling asleep because a nap can be a morning persons worst nightmare, especially when it hits 7:30 and I need to actually fall asleep.  My dog Olives is barking and looks restless so I take her for a 20 minute walk, feed her, and then clean the house a little bit.
4:30PM- My chili is done so I have a big bowl (too big) along with some tortilla chips on the side.  Watch 2 episodes of "Chuck"
6:00PM- Jimmy is finally home from work and I have about an hour with him to hang out before I have to go off to bed.  He is a big "Chuck" fan so he settles on the couch and watches with me.  Not long after I make my way upstairs to do my bed time rituals.  Tonight I make the same mistake as Sunday night and read from my book until 8:30PM.  It seems like only minutes go by when I hear the alarm blaring that it is 3:30AM and time to go back to work...

So, there you have it; a day in my life. Kind of boring isn't it?

Monday, February 9, 2015

Training Update- Will this injuries ever end?

Just when you think it's over and you've gotten yourself healthy BOOM it happens again.  At least that what has happened to me.

I battled a knee injury since May 2014, just after I finished Kalamazoo Marathon (like a bad ass!) It sucked, I was barely able to train at all and I finally get through that and I go for my first long run for Boston and I low and behold I do it again.  I hurt my achilles this time.  

We aren't 100% sure what I did, but I can tell you one thing, it freaking hurts.  I can get through about 2 miles at a time without extreme pain, so I have a tendency to run 2 miles ridiculously fast, like 6 minute range. 

Me- ridiculously happy for completing 2 lousy miles
 I am starting to get a bit overwhelmed I want Boston to go smoothly, I have worked so hard to get to Boston, I have to be able to run it now!

Anyway, haven't blogged in damn near forever but I am back and I am here to stay.  This particular blog is full of whining and  bitching about my achilles but coming up, I'll have my annual new years resolutions, as well as an update on Baby Blankenship, yes you heard me... BABY.

Stay tuned....